Previously we have listed some common indicators of dyslexia, as well as the effects it can have on young students’ academic progress and emotional well-being. Because of the control it offers, home education can be particularly effective for dyslexic learners – especially if paired with a distance learning provider, who can offer caring dyslexia support and experienced Tutors.
Below are some suggestions for parents to help homeschooled dyslexic children make the most of their education:
Dyslexia Support for written materials
Remember that your child is struggling to make sense of what is on the page. If you’re using written materials, make sure everything is laid out as clearly as possible.
- Use a clear, sans serif font such as Arial or Verdana;
- Use type size 12 as a minimum;
- Don’t crowd information together – use spaces to make it clearer to follow. Use double line spacing;
- Avoid underlining or italics, use bold or colour for highlighting;
- Use a coloured background or paper, as black on white causes glare for many readers (not just dyslexic);
- Use bullet point format in preference to dense text;
- Use plain English and avoid unnecessary jargon;
- Avoid using UPPER case words; they are harder to read;
- Do not justify text to the right.
Dyslexia support for lessons, assignments, or exams
- Allow plenty of time for your child to write their assignments. They are likely to take longer to complete them;
- Encourage your child to ask questions;
- Encourage your child to use coloured pens to separate and connect pieces of information when studying.
For general dyslexia support
- Be sensitive – some children are embarrassed by the difficulty they have with tasks which seem to be easy to others in their peer group;
- Repetition aids learning – explaining something once won’t necessarily be sufficient;
- Break things down into small ‘chunks’ of information which can be easily digested;
- Try to involve your child in multi sensory learning, e.g. by asking him or her to explain something back to you, to draw a diagram, write out a formula, etc;
- Experiment to establish how your child learns best – is it by listening to explanations? By reading an explanation and digesting it via discussion? By drawing a diagram to use as a memory prompt?
As a parent of a home educated dyslexic child, it’s important to remember that there are many ways to cope with learning difficulties, and that your encouragement can make a big difference.
If the prospect of taking on your dyslexic child’s education seems overwhelming, consider utilising the resources that a good distance learning provider can offer. Overall, the support and flexibility of home education can work to a dyslexic student’s advantage as long as everyone involved has a good understanding of the student’s particular needs.
And finally, the strategies described above are shared after years of experience – but we’d love to hear what’s worked for you. Please feel free to get in touch with your own suggestions.
Our Learning Support Specialist can also give practical, dyslexia support specific to your child. To find out more, visit our special educational needs page.